Flashback to Childhood: A Brawl In The End Zone At Shea Stadium
Before I get to Macagnan and Quinn, please allow me to share the self indulgent rambling I scribbled down after the Pats win and damn you Ravens, for not coming through. If it doesn’t connect things to the new state of affairs we in Jets Nation will embark on, allow me to apologize now. Call it a case of little sleep, a lot of coffee, and a lifetime of being a Jet fan.
I flashed back for some odd reason, to one of my earliest memories as Jets fan. It was October 5th, 1980 and there I was. A little kid caught between the excitement of being at a real game and the realization that there could be so many angry sideburns in the crowd.
Shea Stadium, in the corner of the end zone I’d say thirty rows up above the dirt infield end zone. The tickets belonged to the Dad of a friend. I was the lucky tag along with my buddy that day. Fortunate enough to be selected to see if the Jets could avoid going 0-5 to start the season. So much for that. The Jets lost 21-11 and I could just hear the pissed off chants of “Walt Must Go,” beginning of course in the upper deck. Miles away from the field (oh, those cookie cutter multi purpose stadiums. I remember sitting upstairs for what I believe was a battle of two first round picks Ken O’Brien vs Tony Eason in 1983. I felt like I was in Staten Island watching a game being played all the way in Queens).
A brawl in the end zone took place too. I remember a white road jersey with the name “Lenkaitis” (Pats long time center Bill Lenkaitis) on it, right in the middle of it. It was a brief melee probably borne out of the frustration that comes from the realization as a player that the season is over in mid-October. Sound familiar?
I first learned what “out for the season” meant too when starting RB Clark Gaines, one of the only weapons the Jets offense had, waved goodbye to us all on a stretcher, courtesy of a broken leg he suffered that day that ended his year and Jet career.
Then I snapped out of my personal “Wonder Years” moment. Realizing seconds later this current pit of disappointment in my stomach was not a life long distaste for the Evil Empire Patriots (even though each year it begins to feel more and more that way) but rather a sadness about our beloved New York Jets. Because through all of the twists and turns in the chase to return to the glory days that took place during the final throes of the LBJ administration the truth is, even with those few precious late January runs of joy, they’ve all ended up in the same place. It just doesn’t seem fair. Doesn’t seem right.
While the Drudge Report splashed the headline “Onward” to mark the Pats advance on their website immediately after disposing of John Harbaugh who was too busy calling the Pats cheaters (Wait, who the Pats? Now that’s an absurd notion) to get online and notice, all I could think about was us. What OUR headline in the newspaper of Jets Nation would be. “Wayward? One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward?”
Okay, so these Macaganan and Quinn guys are on the way. What does that mean exactly? The kid in the old Jets Pom Pom hat has just seen too many of these changes over the years to be so sure. All he can do is hope and pray. Again. For the umpteenth time.
Maccagnan and Quinn
Thanks for your patience. Now that my therapeutic glass half empty writing exercise is out of the way, we turn to new GM Mike Maccagnan and likely new HC Dan Quinn. Who if the rumors are true, will become the new crime fighting duo trying to save Gotham, I mean Florham Park, from itself. Maccagnan was director of scouting in Houston (and we all pray to God he was the guy who actually wanted and demanded the club select JJ Watt and DeAndre Hopkins). Quinn is the hot new OC/DC name in up and comers. Sometimes those guys pan out, other times they become Josh McDaniels and have to go coordinate again while waiting for another turn.
Forget about Mac restructuring and reforming what’s here or Quinn shaping this offense and defense for that matter up. I am just grateful to all who enter the premises willing to look beyond the many prior failed attempts in Jets history, the media’s insatiable desire to pounce on any wounded Jet team at any point in the calendar year, and a fan base that often lives in habitual fear. The breakdown of these two guys every move since they graduated grade school will soon come from all directions. Me? I just want to say good luck fellas. Our fate is now in your hands.
The Ghost of Rex Ryan
I wanted Rex Ryan the person, to land an HC gig straight after packing his Jet bags. Not in the same division though! It’s not that I fear Rex. It’s just that I want to root for him, that’s all. We all know his strengths defensively and in motivating a locker room and his struggles in finding a consistent offense and signal caller. It’s looking like he’s jumping head first into murky quarterback waters too again, but in the AFC East for crying out loud?
Look, I think it’s great he gets to stick around and annoy Bill Belichick a little more and send some serious heat towards Tom Brady next season. In the long run sure, he could develop as an HC and come into his own the second time around. It’s certainly possible. I just hate the storylines that will now surround the upcoming Jets/Bills matchups.
The teams often split their season series anyway, so it’s not about the wins and losses. It’s about the chatter that could go down leading into the games and after them from both sides. Daggers directed towards the Jets by Ryan will hurt and after a few seasons, may begin to make me lose the love I still have for the guy. It would be a shame if that happened.
– The Daily News reported the Chris Johnson arrest on a gun charge like this:
“Jets running back Chris Johnson was arrested Friday for open carrying of a firearm in Orlando, Fla., according to Orlando police.Records indicated that it was a second-degree misdemeanor charge. According to police, Johnson was stopped at 8:56 p.m. after failing to come to a halt a stop sign. Police said that when the officer approached Johnson’s car he saw the handle of a firearm between the running back’s feet. “We are aware and have no comment at this time as this is a pending legal matter,” a team spokesperson said in a statement with regard to the running back.Johnson, 29, has a license to carry a weapon in Florida, ProFootballTalk reported, but was arrested because he was doing so openly.
Straight talk, this is not the best way to greet the new front office. CJ is in the twilight years but seemed rejuvenated down the stretch. Hitting holes. Gaining chunks of yardage every now and then. I just worry that for Johnson this will be a problem for those upstairs trying to hit the reset button here.
– Dez Bryant caught that damn ball. There was no “process” of catching it for the refs to debate about. Bryant caught it, was part of knee to knee contact, switched the football in his hands, curled it in one hand, made a football move towards the goal line, and landed elbow first. THEN the ball popped loose. That’s contact then a body part down. There is no way that was a make up call by the league after the Detroit drama. Is there?